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So a Ranger and his bear walk into a tavern...


One particular issue I've been struggling with is how to handle city encounters when the party contains a wild animal, fire beetle (heh), Drow, or some other creature that common folk would find undesirable, especially around the kids.

Of course, Winterhaven and Fallcrest might view the same differently as well.

How do you handle stuff like this? Does the guard run the party out of town? Does the inn owner allow the brown bear to enter out of fear of the PCs? Do folks in such a dangerous world just consider it normal and just treat them with caution?

I'd like my parties to be able to enter towns and villages companions, pets, etc., but I also want to inject a little common sense as well.

Thanks in advance for your advice :)

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Staff member
The first question you have to ask yourself is what percentage of the population has abilities similar to the party- IOW, how "Fantastic" is the party?

Look at "Fantastic" worlds like Terry Pratchett's Discworld, or Glen Cook's Garret stories. Dwarves and Trolls in both worlds don't tend to get along...but they DO tolerate each other most of the time in the big cities. Yeah, fights break out, and there may be discrimination against one or the other- or both- but in the big cities, at least, there's a truce borne out of the pragmatic view that they gain more from the lack of violence in the cities as opposed to acting on their grudges.

OTOH, out in the smaller cities and settlements...things could get pretty hairy.

In lower magic, less "fantastic" worlds, exotic party members may have to conceal their identities, and if that isn't possible, they can expect extreme negative reactions.

"We don't serve Drow in here!" might be the mildest bit of it.

As for "pets?"

A high-fantasy world may well have businesses that can house your critters as easily as a stable holds horses, but even so, that would probably only be in the major population centers. Out in the villages, that bear is going to have to...sleep...in the woods.
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Good question.

You can make your world cosmopolitan wierd by default. Giants, goblins, mastadons, and other strangeness are sometimes seen on city streets. What's another bit of wierdness?

But if that doesn't appeal or more likely if that's not universally true everywhere in your setting, then its just something the PC's have to deal with. I would presume that in a setting of the sort, there would be 'leash laws' or 'cage laws' requiring potentially dangerous 'pets' to be locked up before entering town.

I really can't think of anywhere in my campaign that the Innkeeper would be happy with a brown bear ambling in the door, and that includes the establishments where the hostler would just nod if a hobgoblin, a man with insectile eyes and antenna growing out of his head, and tatooed orine in his rutting plumage pulled a war aurox and saddled triceratops into the stable. There are somethings that are just wierd and would naturally make people uncomfortable, you know.


It didn't come up much in my games -- either the animals are mundane enough (wolf, eagle), the players figure out something ("my giant bat is going to rest outside; here's some gold for your trouble), or the PC is smart enough to get a disguise (hat of disguise for the half-drow, and cautious behavior).

I think it's a setting question, really, and could vary from campaign to campaign, or even from place to place in a specific setting (e.g., next door to the druidic order's sacred woods, the innkeepers might be familiar with people with odd "pets").

I think you just need to make sure the players know how you're going to do it, so they can take steps to prepare for it (including just thinking about it beforehand, so it doesn't come as an annoying surprise). Find out ahead of time how the players plan on handling it, or how they'd like it to go. It might be fun for them, or it might be an annoyance.


First Post
Heh. What a coincidence, I was just thinking about this very thing the other day...

Another thing to consider is how dangerous the adventurers themselves look like. If it's a drow, but dressed in the raiments of the goddess of peace, they'll probably get a better reception than someone in enameled black armor with a skull motiff.

If the animal (say a griffon) is wearing barding and is obviously trained and well behaved, it might get a different reception than a feral wild cat that's snapping at everyone.


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Staff member
Heh- good stuff.

A Paladin's "Pokemount" presents special issues, though, if he chose to summon it while in his room...

"Shhh, Mithril!- let me put on these hoof-muffles and THEN you get your oats! And no missing the chamber pot, this time- you know better!"


Better yet, one of the variant paladin mounts.

That would make an awesome surprise for thieves.

"Okay, this guy was wearing full plate! You know he's gotta have some cash, and he wasn't carrying anything when he left. Let me just get this lock and AH GODS HOW DID A RHINO GET IN THERE?!?!"


First Post
I'd say those concerned with the keeping a town civilized would want anything carnivorous or dangerous that is bigger than a dog in a cage.


First Post
Ah, this old problem. I've been facing this one since the 2e days, when the ranger (played by my dad, actually) was always keen on having his Cave Bear Companion follow him. Everywhere. I don't know how you ask a tavernkeeper "Excuse me, do you have a bed big enough for my Cave Bear?"

I do have a pretty good idea why most rangers remain bachelors, though.

Really, my general rule is either PCs react to the mount negatively, or super positively ("Oh, look hun... a Cave Bear! Let's feed it and poke its belly!"). A Player that wants to bring his super weird pet into a non-sigil-like city wants the attention - as a GM, give it to them. Even if it's not all positive - in the dwarven city of Drogas IMC, I could easily imagine there being a "bear tax".


Thanks for the replies :) I think I've stumbled on an idea that might work well for me, so I'll share it.

I like to give players who put points into 'non-combat' skills (like history, diplomacy, etc.) a chance to shine. Perhaps I can come up with skill challenges to address the problem. It would be much harder to succeed in human-centric settlements as opposed to Sigil (would not need a check at all).

I can see a player saying 'Look, if you want us to save your village from that evil cleric, the bear stays with me'. Roll...

I imagine some of the more bizarre races may need to pass skill challeges as well to be accepted or forced by circumstance to accept. Now we have Shardminds, Minotaurs, etc. to deal with.

Jeez, if I saw a Tiefling or Dragonborn (core) in real life, it would freak me out. But if they were saving me from that *real* dragon down the road, I might be very inclined to overlook our differences.

Thanks again for all the feedback.

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